The family of a 44-year-old man who was killed in a construction accident in New York on Nov. 21 has called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death. The family members, who were joined at a press conference by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, claim that the man was laboring in conditions so unsafe that crane operators refused to work.
A series of construction accidents in New York City sparked a change in the law and requirements imposed on construction companies. In many cases, the accidents were caused by situations that would have been prevented if proper workplace safety procedures were followed on the site. As a result, the City Council passed a bill that increased the safety training requirements for construction workers on projects in the city. In October 2017, Local Law 196 was signed, but a year later, critics say that it has had little practical implications for construction workers' safety.
The construction industry poses a wide range of hazards to employees. In New York, workers can be at risk for everything from repetitive motion injuries to electrocution to exposure to dangerous chemicals. OSHA has regulations in place to help prevent such accidents. The agency requires employers to provide safe equipment, remove potential hazards and provide safety training.
New York state is seriously considering legalizing recreational marijuana. If this occurs, it could result in safety concerns for employers in many different industries. In 2016, more than 4,600 people who worked in the private sector died while on the job. Roughly 20 percent of those who died worked in the construction industry according to the Department of Labor (DOL). In addition, employers are worried that those who fail drug tests will need to be sent home.
When a business faces a deadly problem, common sense says that it would quickly find a way to keep its workers safe. However, the construction industry has not yet achieved this feat.